Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center

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Research at the Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center focuses on providing the scientific understanding and technologies needed to support and implement sound management and conservation of our Nation's biological resources occurring in Hawai'i and other Pacific island locations.

Spotlight on Research

Spotlight on Research

Learn more about how researchers are tracking how rare plants are responding to changing environmental conditions.

Plant Responses

Featured Scientist

Featured Scientist

PIERC Microbiologist Dr. Carter Atkinson is using new tools to detect emerging threats and rare species in Pacific Island ecosystems.

Atkinson Research

News

Close-up photograph of stem, leaves and flower buds of haha plant
June 8, 2018

Caly isn't likely to wonder off off, but with a remote camera and monitoring station online 24-hours a day, USGS and partners at the State of Hawai‘i Division of Forestry and Wildlife, University of Hawai‘i, and the USFWS can learn how an extremely rare plant is responding to changes in environmental conditions.

Trained scent-detection dog and dog trainer at work in a taro field at Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge
November 22, 2017

Dogs have great olfactory abilities and wildlife biologists think they can help endangered waterbirds in Hawai‘i. Dogs are being trained to sniff out the endangered ducks (koloa maoli (Anas wyvilliana) and Laysan ducks (A. laysanensis)) that die of avian botulism. 

Image: 'Akiapōlā'au
July 10, 2017

Forest birds on the island of Hawaii are responding positively to being restored in one of the largest, ongoing reforestation projects at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, according to a new study released July 10 in the journal Restoration Ecology.

Publications

Year Published: 2018

Extreme drought alters frequency and reproductive success of floaters in Willow Flycatchers

Changes in habitat quality, including those caused by extreme events like droughts and floods, could alter costs and benefits of territoriality and thereby the prevalence and reproductive consequences for individuals capable of breeding that do not do so (floaters). We studied floating behavior in a population of Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (...

Theimer, Tad; Sogge, Mark K.; Cardinal, Suzanne N.; Durst, Scott L.; Paxton, Eben H.
Theimer, T. C., M. K. Sogge, S. N. Cardinal, S. L. Durst, and E. H. Paxton. 2018. Extreme drought alters frequency and reproductive success of floaters in willow flycatchers. Auk 135:647–656.

Year Published: 2018

Potential impacts of projected climate change on vegetation management in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park

Climate change will likely alter the seasonal and annual patterns of rainfall and temperature in Hawai`i. This is a major concern for resource managers at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park where intensely managed Special Ecological Areas (SEAs), focal sites for managing rare and endangered plants, may no longer provide suitable habitat under future...

Camp, Richard J.; Loh, Rhonda; Berkowitz, S. Paul; Brinck, Kevin W.; Jacobi, James D.; Price, Jonathan; McDaniel, Sierra; Fortini, Lucas B.
Camp, R. J., R. Loh, P. Berkowitz, K. W. Brinck, J. D. Jacobi, J. Price, S. McDaniel, and L. B. Fortini. 2018. Potential impacts of projected climate change on vegetation management in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Park Science 34:22–31. Available: https://www.nps.gov/articles/parkscience34-1_22-31_camp_et_al_3875.htm

Year Published: 2018

Population estimates of the Endangered Hawaiʻi ʻĀkepa (Loxops coccineus) in different habitats on windward Mauna Loa

Endangered Hawai‘i ʻĀkepas (Loxops coccineus) are endemic to Hawai‘i island, where they occur in five spatially distinct populations. Data concerning the status and population trends of these unique Hawaiian honeycreepers are crucial for assessing the effectiveness of recovery and management actions. In 2016, we used point‐transect distance...

Judge, Seth W.; Camp, Richard J.; Hart, Patrick J.; Kichman, Scott T.
Judge, S. W., R. J. Camp, P. J. Hart, and S. T. Kichman. 2018. Population estimates of the Endangered Hawaiʻi ʻĀkepa (Loxops coccineus) in different habitats on windward Mauna Loa. Journal of Field Ornithology 89:11–21.